Steelers vs. Bills Odds & Picks: Cases For Both Sides of Sunday Night Football Spread
Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: T.J. Watt
Steelers vs. Bills Odds & Picks
The Steelers are coming off of their first loss of the season, while the Bills enter Week 14 riding high after cruising past the 49ers last Monday. Buffalo is a slight favorite against Pittsburgh in this matchup, but our staff sees value on both teams in this game.
Raheem Palmer: As a bettor, I often find myself planning weeks ahead looking for opportunities. I also find myself hoping certain teams will win or lose so that it can set up the perfect opportunities to make a profit.
Had the Steelers taken care of business against the Washington Football Team and the 49ers proved the sharps who pushed them from +2.5 to -2.5 right, Sunday night’s game between the Steelers and Bills would be the primetime spot of the season with the Bills catching upwards of 3 points or more against an undefeated opponent.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out in our favor.
The Steelers blew a 14-point lead to drop their first game of the season and directly after, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Josh Allen combined to expose a Robert Saleh-led 49ers defense on the way to a 34-24 victory in which Allen completed 32 of 40 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns.
At Bills -1.5 it would appear all value is gone, but I’m not sure that’s the case.
The Steelers face cluster injuries to their linebacking core with the absence of linebacker Robert Spillane (knee) after already losing Bud Dupree and Devin Bush for the season. Although they welcome the return of cornerback Steven Nelson, they’ll also be missing Joe Haden (concussion) in Sunday’s matchup.
All things considered, this Steelers defense that ranks first in points allowed, sacks, pressure rate and Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA is a shell of its former self.
Injuries to Spillane, Dupree and Bush are especially problematic given Pittsburgh’s tendency to defend slot receivers with linebackers. Look for Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs to dominate in the slot and, unlike Alex Smith, Allen is capable of throwing down the field to put the pressure on this Steelers secondary.
With the Steelers facing the 32nd-ranked schedule of opposing offenses, the Bills will be one of the best offenses they’ve faced all year outside of the Texans in Week 3.
All things considered, we have a Bills offense facing a banged-up and overvalued Steelers defense.
With Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh’s offense continuing to struggle — in addition to playing their third game in the last two weeks — I’ll lay the -1.5 points on the road with the Bills, who are 5-1 in their last six games.
This may actually be the last time we can buy on Bills at a bargain for the rest of the season.
Brandon Anderson: It looks like Raheem and I are going head-to-head again this week, though I like to think of myself as going head-to-head with Josh Allen here instead.
These teams are both fresh in our minds because we just watched them play on Monday, and Monday’s games probably swung this line at least 3 points. The Steelers are no longer undefeated, and in another timeline, this would indeed have been a great spot to pick against them on the road in front of a crazed Bills Mafia crowd with the 16-0 season on the line.
Instead, the Steelers got their wake-up call a week early.
Pittsburgh has been a bit overrated all season, but there’s a big difference between overrated and not good. No, the Steelers have never been your typical undefeated team. They’ve caught some lucky breaks and won a few too many close games for comfort before finally losing one last week, but they’re still a very quality team.
Pittsburgh is 11-1 now instead of 12-0, and both records flatter them, but the truth is that the underlying metrics still place this team around 9-3.
There’s another truth here, and it’s about Buffalo: The Bills are actually 9-3 but might also be a bit overrated.
This was not the team we were promised before the season. Buffalo’s defense has been average at best, and really this team has been all Allen all the time. It’s true that Pittsburgh’s underlying metrics paint them as more of a 9-3 team, but the same underlying metrics paint 9-3 Buffalo as more of a six- or seven-win team.
Pittsburgh is still the better team, even as the Steelers start to come back to earth. They’re still rated as the best defense in football and will present Allen with by far his stiffest test of the season. It’s one thing to beat up on Robert Saleh’s 49ers defense with injuries up and down the roster. The Steelers are another animal entirely, even if their linebacking crew is starting to look like a MAS*H unit.
Pittsburgh has forced at least two turnovers nine times already this season, and Allen is still prone to those two or three huge mistakes every game. Buffalo’s offense has faced the fourth-easiest schedule so far this season, and the Bills haven’t faced a top-10 defense since September.
Allen has had a heck of a breakout season, but Pittsburgh is something else entirely. If you’re giving me that defense plus points against Allen, I’m going to have to make Allen beat me. Let’s see it.
Chris Raybon: As my Action Network NFL Podcast co-host likes to put, Mike Tomlin is a “rah rah” coach.
Tomlin does his best work when he has something to yell at his team about. It’s no surprise, then, that under Tomlin, the Steelers have been a field goal better ATS in situations in which they are either an underdog, or coming off a loss.
After blowing a 14-3 second-quarter lead to lose their first game of the season, the Steelers check both boxes for this contest. Pittsburgh was never as good as its previously undefeated record, but I still have this game projected with the Steelers as a slight favorite.
I like Pittsburgh down to a pick’em.